New Delhi: A complete ban on plastic bags in the national capital is impossible, a government panel has noted and suggested setting up of recycling units by the manufacturers on the basis of “polluter pays principle” to tackle the menace.
‘Environmentally-sound and economically-viable modern recycling units must be established by licensed plastic bags manufacturers or Plastic Manufacturers Associations on the basis of polluter pays principle,” the panel said in its report submitted before the Delhi High Court.
The panel comprising officials of Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Justice R C Chopra was set up by the court while hearing a petition filed by activist V K Jain from NGO Tapas.
Jain has sought a complete ban on plastic bags in the city, maintaining that they are chocking drains and the Yamuna river and leading to water-borne diseases.
He said developed and developing countries like Germany, Singapore and Bangladesh have successfully banned the product.
The panel while maintaining that polythene bags are not easy to be banned, an observation which has brought a ray of smile on the face of plastic industry, also suggested setting up of a compaction unit for plastic recycling to be managed by the civic agencies at zonal level.
“Civic bodies namely Municipal Corporation of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Cantonment Board which handle and manage the solid waste in the city may be directed to encourage and support proper agencies for removal of plastic waste,“ the panel said in its report.
“If possible in every zonal office or dhalao, they should set up a plastic compaction unit where rag pickers or agencies may bring the plastic bags waste and get it compacted for sale to the recyclers,” it said.
Bringing to the notice of the Court about such machines being manufactured in Delhi, the panel said it has been found working satisfactorily at Sreekot, Shrinagar, Pauri Garhwal in Uttarakhand.
Along with compaction units, buy-back facilities can also be provided either by private entrepreneurs or by the state so that after compaction of plastic waste, it may be sold there itself, it added.
“Reasonable rates may be fixed for the plastic waste to encourage the rag pickers and others to collect and sell plastic bags waste,” the panel said.
The experts also sought steps to encourage discarded plastic bags or packaging products in segments like manufacturing of plastic furniture, non-critical household products like dustbins, mats, cloths hangers etc as well for construction of roads.